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pho·​bia ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio)
: an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation


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noun combining form

: exaggerated fear of
: intolerance or aversion for

Examples of phobia in a Sentence

Noun His fear of crowds eventually developed into a phobia.
Recent Examples on the Web
Advertisement There were reported gender differences: For men, alcohol abuse had the highest prevalence, followed by major depressive disorder and specific phobias. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Oct. 2023 Snoop Dogg is opening up about his surprising animal phobia. Nikki Dobrin, Peoplemag, 16 Sep. 2023 The museum has been renovated and expanded with money from Law and Justice, which during the election campaign transferred many of Dmowski’s phobias, particularly his claims of internal enemies conniving with Germany, onto Mr. Tusk. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2023 That's partly because proactive pain control can go a long way toward preventing medical phobias later on, says Dr. Taddio. Rachel Rabkin Peachman, Parents, 21 Sep. 2023 On season three of The D'Amelio Show, Charli had mentioned your phobia of flying. Danielle Bacher, Peoplemag, 17 Oct. 2023 To Sze, needle phobias are a public health issue, a perspective she’s been encouraging clinicians to embrace since the start of the pandemic. Haley Weiss, TIME, 12 Oct. 2023 The mazes are centered on common phobias, so expect to walk through total darkness, meet with terrifying clowns and mingle with ghosts inside a haunted house. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Oct. 2023 Pretty much everyone knows what a phobia is: an extreme and unreasoning fear or aversion to something. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 3 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'phobia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History




Noun combining form

New Latin, from Late Latin, from Greek, from -phobos fearing, from phobos fear, flight, from phebesthai to flee; akin to Lithuanian bėgti to flee, Old Church Slavonic běžati

First Known Use


1786, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phobia was in 1786

Dictionary Entries Near phobia

Cite this Entry

“Phobia.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pho·​bia ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio)
: an unreasonable, abnormal, and lasting fear of something

Medical Definition


pho·​bia ˈfō-bē-ə How to pronounce phobia (audio)
: an exaggerated and often disabling fear usually inexplicable to the subject and having sometimes a logical but usually an illogical or symbolic object, class of objects, or situation compare compulsion, obsession
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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